Scientology Organization (SO)
The Scientology Organization was founded in the U.S. in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard. In 1970, Scientology opened its first office in Germany. The number of Scientologists in Germany is estimated at between 5, 000 and 6 ,000.
The German government does not consider the Scientology Organization to be a "religious congregation" but a commercial enterprise.
In Germany, there is no process by which the govern ment officially recognizes a religion. However, tax authorities grant tax-exempt status to organizations that act in the public interest and are non profit. Some 10 ,000 groups have requested and received tax-exempt status, but, to date, the Scientology Organization has repeatedly failed to establish its qualifications.
Because of Germany' s historical experiences, German authorities have a special responsibility to monitor the development of any extrem ist group within German borders – even when the group's members are small in number.
Since there is documented evidence of Scientology activities that are directed against the liberal and democratic fundamental order , the Permanent Conference of the State Ministers for the Interior and the State Senates in 1997 asked the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz) to monitor the activities of the Scientology Organization .
On November 11, 2004, the Administrative Court in Cologne ruled that the monitoring of Scientology Organization Germany by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is lawful. The Court stressed that there are clear indications that the Scientology Organization pursues unconstitutional activities directed at abolishing the human rights guaranteed in the Basic Constitutional Law (Grundgesetz). This judgment was upheld on February 12, 2008, i n an appeals ruling by the Higher Administrative Court in Münster.The monitoring by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution does not restrict the Scientology Organization in its activities.